Stage 5: Students as World Changers

Think about…systems of the future

We often talk about creating students who can tackle the world’s greatest problems by becoming collaborative innovators instead of competitive regurgitators. But those of us in the field of education are called to do the same; it is up to us to tackle the problems of schooling and innovate our way to a more free, equal, just, and healthy world.

Consider the following quotation and ask yourself, what should I be doing to shift the system of education to meet the demands of the 21st century?

The best employers the world over will be looking for the most competent, most creative, and most innovative people on the face of the earth and will be willing to pay them top dollar for their services…Beyond [strong skills in English, mathematics, technology, and science], candidates will have to be comfortable with ideas and abstractions, good at both analysis and synthesis, creative and innovative, self-disciplined and well-organized, able to learn very quickly and work well as a member of a team and have the flexibility to adapt quickly to frequent changes in the labor market as the shifts in the economy become ever faster and more dramatic. If we continue on our current course…[our] standard of living will steadily fall. The core problem is that our education and training systems were built for another era. […] We can get where we must go only by changing the system itself.

— The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, 2007 (quoted in The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future by Lisa Darling-Hammond)

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